Homily for Sunday, September 15

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Homily for the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for Homily

Remember not too long ago,
before there was  a GPS device on the dashboard,
remember how difficult it was for some drivers (mostly men!)
to admit that they were lost - that they didn’t know where they were.
I can count myself among those drivers
who would travel miles in the wrong direction
– unwilling to acknowledge that I was lost
and even when finally giving in, preferring turn around and backtrack
rather than stop where I was and ask for directions.

These two parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin,
images of God’s seeking us out when we’re lost,
these parables might well be lost on you and me –
to the degree that we refuse to believe that we’re lost.

What does it mean to be lost?
• To be lost is to find myself in a place I don’t recognize as the place
where I wanted to be, where I should be, where I belong.
(And that means recognizing that there are some places
where I shouldn’t be and where I don’t belong.)
• To be lost is to be unsure of where I am,
unsure of how I got here – and unsure of where I should go next.
(And that means recognizing a certain responsibility for knowing
where I am, how I got here and where I go from here.)
• To be lost is to be without a point of reference outside myself:
to be without a north star, a compass, a map, without a GPS
to position me in the universe, in my life, on my journey,
and in my relationship with God
who never fails to seek me out when I am lost.

In fact,
I’m most likely to get lost when I begin to think and then to believe,
that I am the north star, that  I don’t need a compass or a map,
that I’m in charge of the journey of my life
and that God is as relevant to my plans as some old stories
about a lost sheep and a missing coin.

In other words,
as soon as I become the center of my own universe:
I.   Am.   Lost.

And there are oh-so-many ways to get lost.
• I get lost when I take the short cut of greed to get to have all that I want.
• I get lost when I take the path of selfishness, losing touch with others,
     family, friends and colleagues, fellow travelers all, along my way.
• I get lost when I take the exit to pleasure rather than traveling
     the road of responsibility.
• I get lost when I ignore and refuse direction
     from others who know the way better than I.
• I get lost when I stall my journey and sit by the side of the road,
     convinced that there’s really no place for me to go.
• I get lost when I’m sure I know better than anyone else, even God,
     where I ought to be heading and how I should get there.
• I get lost the moment I believe I can find my way all on my own.

Virtually all of us get lost somewhere along the way, in some fashion.

But if I can’t image myself as lost, how will I image God as a shepherd,
searching humanity to find me wherever I am lost,
however it was I lost my way?

If I can’t image myself as lost, how will I image God as the woman
sweeping my heart and soul clean
to help me find what's lost in my life?

If I can’t admit that I’m lost,
how can I pray to be found?
how will I find God looking for me?

Perhaps the first thing I need to do is to ask God to help me see
that it just might be that I’m lost and don’t know it.
Let me share a prayer with you:
the prayer of someone asking to accept
what’s difficult to acknowledge. 

(If it helps, close your eyes for a moment…)

O Lord, I have more ways than I know
of keeping myself from truths
that would challenge and change
how I see my life and live it...

My biases and prejudice,
partialities and mindsets
these shield me from what I do not want to see,
to hear, to learn, to know...

I believe the truth will set me free
but I fear too many are the ways
I keep the truth from seeping in
to shape and change, to mold

my mind and heart... 

Send your Spirit's fire and light
to burn bright and to shine with truth
upon my mind's ideas and thoughts,
upon my heart's desires and passions...

Send your truth to set me free, Lord,
let your Spirit come with grace today,
to challenge and to change
how I see my life and live it...

Help me find how I am lost, Lord,
and help me see how you search
to find me, to forgive me,
to bring me back where I belong…


We come to Mass every week as people who are lost
and need to be found.

We come together in each other’s company because together,
we are less likely to stray and get lost.

We listen to the scriptures because the Word of God
is our map, our compass, our GPS.

And we come to the Lord’s table to be nourished for our journey,
to be fed by the One who never lost his way
because he never failed to listen, to follow,
to go where his Father led him.

As we sang at the beginning of Mass today:
We once were lost but now we’re found,
we were blind but now we see.

Praise God for such amazing grace!


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1 comment:

  1. I love the way you take a Scripture story and make it intensely personal. Your homily was wonderful and so very real. Thank you!


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